The first two days of the well promoted Thailand reopening have seen a total of 4,510 passengers arriving at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport and six of them were actually found to test positive for Covid.
It’s not listed what the nationalities and origins of the infected passengers were but one thing is certain, their holiday/arrival has now taken an unpleasant turn as they’re now isolated at their own expense.
Thai media is rather tight lipped about these six cases and what happened to them, it hasn’t been on the front pages anywhere which I’m not surprised about.
Yesterday the Bangkok Post had one article mentioning the arrival numbers as well as the Covid cases.
There were 4,510 arrivals through Suvarnabhumi airport on Monday and Tuesday after the country’s reopening to vaccinated visitors on Nov 1, with fewer than 1% testing positive for Covid-19, according to the government.
Releasing the data on Wednesday, Dr Sumanee Wacharasin, hazard communication director of the Department of Disease Control, said the top five countries of origin were Japan, with 725 arrivals, followed by Singapore with 387, Qatar with 365, Germany with 283 and China with 273.
Testing on arrival revealed three visitors were infected with Covid-19 under the “Test and Go” process for fully vaccinated travellers from specified countries. This was 0.07% of all visitors under the “Test and Go” process, Dr Sumanee said.
Another three arrivals who were subject to quarantine also tested positive. They accounted for 0.94% of all visitors in this group, she said.
While the number sounds low it still makes you wonder how a passenger that is vaccinated and just got a negative PCR test suddenly tests positive (assuming you accept both test results as valid). Unless of course they’re neither.
Keep in mind that there is no formal requirement for Thai citizens who choose to undergo regular ASQ Quarantine to get PCR tested prior to departure for purposes of entry into the country. The airline might still require it though. Likewise Thailand does accept unvaccinated foreigners as visitors as long as they do the mandatory 10 day quarantine, however unlike Thais these foreigner have to present a negative RT-PCR test result prior to departure.
While it’s nowhere mentioned where the infected passengers came from and of what nationality they were I think it would be important to know these details to make some important decisions related to future travel planning.
Thailand is going to isolate any passenger seated around Covid positive passengers at their own expense and if it turns out there is a certain risk group such as untested, unvaccinated Thai citizens then I’d rather fly with an airline who wouldn’t accept passengers under these conditions.
For example Etihad or Singapore Airlines require a negative test result for all passengers no matter if the destination demands it or not. Choosing an airline that has such restrictions in place would mitigate your risk considerably.
As far as the arrival numbers are concerned they are rather solid compared to the sandbox numbers in Phuket. Of course the overall count is still a drop in the bucket from where it was pre-pandemic. I find it especially interesting that there were 273 Chinese travelers considering they need government approval to even leave the country at the moment. With higher up connections such approval is probably easy to obtain.
Here are my two recent articles concerning the Thailand reopening:
I was taking a walk through Bangkok yesterday and noticed quite a few people who fit the tourist profile including many of the unsavory kind that are usually to be found in the more seedy areas of the city. Didn’t take long for them to arrive. That’s certainly something I didn’t miss during these last 18 months here in Thailand.
4,510 arrivals were counted for Monday and Tuesday at BKK International Airport. These passengers were then processed and send on their way to the prebooked hotel where they underwent a mandatory PCR Test from which a total of six passengers (3 quick arrivals, 3 quarantinees) tested positive for Covid-19.
Officials and news sources didn’t further go into the origins and nationalities of the infected passengers. All passengers who wish to use the Thailand Pass Quick Entry or the Sandbox Models are required to be fully vaccinated and be PCR tested prior to the flight. Those who are unvaccinated and go into ASQ Quarantine are a different story as far as risk is concerned, especially Thai citizens who don’t have to produce a negative test before being allowed to board. I’d be very careful where I’m seated but of course it’s close to impossible to mitigate that risk.
Sure you can ask the check-in staff to seat you far away from anyone who fits a certain risk profile but if they’re able to follow that request is another matter. The best would probably be to fly an airline who requires a negative test for all passengers. Again the issue is not only being infected by someone but being seated in the immediate vicinity and then hauled off to quarantine due to Thailand’s overzealous policies.